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    What is Marketing Automation?

    by Jan Beery on Jul 26, 2013 3:27:39 AM

    Recently, Katie Gutwein, wrote a great blog about Why Buying Marketing Software Isn’t Enough. What made it so great? She addressed the need to utilize this awesome tool, and why you shouldn’t focus on just the software. Yes, the software is important, but it’s only part of the strategy.

    Katie also mentioned that we see, over and over again, organizations investing in software and then claiming it didn’t work. My fear is that we’re going to see this happening more and more. Why? Because marketing automation is the next big thing, and it should be. Like any big thing, you need to understand why it’s a big thing, how to use it to its fullest potential; and how to recognize when it’s too big of a thing to take lightly and think you can Rambo your way through it. True, it’s been around for a while, but it has gained strong momentum and isn’t slowing down anytime soon.

    Hubspot’s Jessica Meher wrote about Marketing Automation Lessons Learned the Hard Way. In her post, jessica shared how analysts are predicting a 50% industry revenue increase this year alone!

    Clearly, marketing automation is a big deal. So what is it, exactly?

    1. Marketing Automation is a software platform, built to help you automate marketing tasks.

    The important point here is, be sure to manage your strategy, and your automation or you may find yourself with an automation nightmare. That nightmare, could cost you sales, patients, customers, and revenue.

    2. Marketing Automation is only one piece of the puzzle.

    Your job, as a marketer, is to manage all the touchpoints to reach your buyer at the right time, in the right place. 93% of B2B buyers use search to begin the buying process, and 37% post questions on social networking sites, looking for suggestions.

    3. Marketing Automation requires a team of doers to manage.

    Katie wrote about what a team of doers looks like, Why Buying Marketing Software Isn't Enough, but I'll share it again:

    Leadership: Strategy, Project Management, Sales & Marketing Alignment

    Content Creation: Blogging, Social Media, Design, SEO, Editing

    Social Media Management: Posting, Engagement, Emerging Trends

    Lead Generation: Premium Content, Email, Smarketing, Smart Lists

    Marketing Automation: Campaigns, Lead Management, Lead Scoring

    Analyst: Analytics, KPIs, and Reporting

    If you don’t have a team that can handle this, for the love of all that is good and holy, don’t wait until you have an all out disaster on your hands. Ask for help, before you get started.

    4. Marketing Automation must include sales and marketing working together.

    This means.....You're going to have to actually talk to each other, and listen! Hey, I get it-- we’ve even talked about it in previous posts-- marketing and sales historically functioned as separate silos. Marketers, pay attention to the fact that Sales knows the personas they are targeting; and marketing should be on top of those personas. The best way for this to happen is communication. Go across the aisle, it’s not so bad! You’ll find that everyone really wants the same end results, and you’ll even make new friends.

    5. Marketing Automation considers buyer personas in every action.

    Do you develop products first, or personas first? Do you develop marketing material first, or think about the persona you’re targeting first? You should be developing that target persona first, then everything else you develop from content to product changes, enhancements and materials, is centered around that persona.

    What is a persona? Buyer persona institute defines it as, “A buyer persona is an example of the real person you need to influence, crafted from specialized interviews that you conduct with actual buyers.” Develop a buyer persona template and ever-evolve, based on the needs of your persona. Depending on the challenges the customer is facing, this can change periodically. Be aware and manage accordingly.

    6. Marketing Automation will not pay attention to whether your leads and contacts are working their way through your sales funnel outside of the campaign.

    What should be happening is they’re building a relationship with you through multiple touch points. They’re not waiting with baited breath for your next email campaign. They're searching for your brand, engaging with you on social media, and seeing what other people’s experiences with your company have been. When they come to your site, are you a resource they want to tap into for information?

    Marketing automation is here to stay. It’s a fantastic tool that many of us were actually piecing together on our own. Now we have many marketing automation software companies out there. Through their own research, these marketing automation companies develop and continue to improve, tweak, and evolve their products, based on their own buyer personas.

    Whatever your challenges or lack of understanding have been in the past, there’s no time like the present to get started. You’ve got plenty of support if you need help.

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